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On Thursday September 14, 2017, the European Parliament approved the proposed European Accessibility Act, which was designed to increase the ability of Europeans with disabilities to access goods and services, as well as bring the EU into compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The proposed Act passed by a vote of 537 to 12, with 89 abstentions. Under EU law, it now heads to the EU Council, made of the heads of government of each of the member states, for approval.

According to Danish MEP Morten Løkkegaard, the lead rapporteur for the Act, the draft law is expected to face opposition in the Council because of disagreement between EU member states about some of its elements.

If passed without amendment by the Council, the Act would establish accessibility obligations for a number of goods and services, including:

  • Ticketing and check-in machines,
  • ATMs,
  • PCs and operating systems,
  • Phones and TV equipment,
  • Consumer banking services,
  • E-books,
  • E-commerce, and
  • Public transportation services.

The Act as written exempts organizations with fewer than 10 employees. However, enforcing legislation must be enacted by each of the EU’s 28 member states, and specific implementation will likely differ from state to state.

The EU estimates about 80 million people with disabilities live in the 28 member states and would be covered by the Act.

Level Access will continue to follow the European Accessibility Act as it heads to the Council and will keep you posted with updates.